This holiday season (or any season), I challenge you to consider the impact your travel has on the planet, the communities you visit and on you (and your daily habits) far outweighs the carbon your seat(s) on that plane add. As a conscious consumer and thus a conscious traveler, I would argue, that where you travel to, the choices you make in hotels, the way you interact with the local communities and they way that travel impacts you is more important than burning jet fuel.
Let’s start with some key concepts from the book “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.” In this insightful book edited by Paul Hawken, he has a top 15 list of solutions. Eliminating planes or flights is not even in that top 15 list. At the top of the list: Refrigeration (1), a.ka. Air Conditioning. Fly to some place hot and then sequester yourself inside a refrigerated room and you’ve just become the number one worst carbon offender.
Where you travel to, the choices you make in hotels, the way you interact with the local communities and they way that travel impacts you is more important than burning jet fuel.
Next in the top 15 include alternative energy: Wind Turbines (2), Solar Farms (8), Rooftop Solar (10). So the next big choice for you beyond whether your room requires A/C is how is that A/C and the rest of your vacation powered. Rounding out the top 15 include items specific to your food choices: Reduction in Food Waste (3), Plant-Rich Diet (4), Silvopasture (9), Regenerative Agriculture (11). So when picking that destination, the food lifecycle from how it is made and the amount of waste produced, to how far the food traveled and how many forests were destroyed to make it are just as important as how far you traveled.
Beyond A/C, energy and food, one of the other key components to consider is the impact your travel has on the local communities and ecosystem. Also included in the top 15 are: Tropical Forests (5), Education Girls (6), Family Planning (7), etc. related to conservation and social impact. If you can travel to locations where you can be part of promoting the education of girls and the empowerment of women in those communities, you can make more of an impact which will cumulatively offset all the carbon from your airline miles.
As conscious consumers, picking destinations and hotels in those location which take a more holistic perspective can not only neutralize your flight’s carbon footprint but also be part of a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming.
What if you could find hotels which work with their local ecosystems?
What if you could find hotels with no A/C, who ran on alternative energy, who reduced food waste and had a farm-to-table program working on their land and with their neighbors to deliver a delicious plant-rich diet to your plate based on silvopasture and regenerative agriculture. What if you could find hotels which work with their local ecosystems, so you could be part of improving the education of girl who in turn gain more control over their family planning? These hotels do exist. Playa Viva is one of them. Our guests at Playa Viva are asking us where else they can find similar hotels and we are finding them. Playa Viva and hotels like us are joining a collective called Regenerative Resorts. Each is doing their part in regenerating their local ecosystem and communities and being part of this drawdown.
Part of travel is the transformation that comes from being on vacation. This can be as simple as just unplugging from your daily routine. At Playa Viva, we hope that you not only disconnect, but you reconnect to new habits. New habits you can take back home with you. Habits that allow you to be part of that drawdown and reversing global warming through your day-to-day activities. For 2019, we hope you will go places and be a part of creating that change in the local communities, with the local people and ecosystem. Hopefully, that change, will ripple back to you and be part of your own transformation and you too can be part of that drawdown of carbon, not in avoiding that flight, but in each and every choice you make, every action, every dollar spent and that you inspire others around you to do the same.
Happy Holidays from the Playa Viva team and all the folks we impact through your visit!